Hurricane hurts Gibson, helps Ridings in quest for PGA Tour card

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Officials with the Tour this afternoon canceled the final event of the Tour Finals due to Hurricane Matthew. The event was scheduled Thursday through Sunday in Atlantic Beach, Fla.

The cancellation means all standings through the first three events of the finals series will be final in the race for the last 25 PGA Tour cards to be awarded for 2017.

Several players with Oklahoma ties were affected, particularly former Tulsan Tag Ridings, who was ranked 23rd and now has earned a PGA Tour card for next season.

Kevin Tway of Edmond has earned his PGA Tour card regardless as he ranks ninth with $63,975 in the four-event finals, during which the top 25 join the top 25 from the Tour regular season in earning PGA Tour cards for 2016-17.

Former Oklahoma Christian golfer Rhein Gibson who now lives in Edmond was ranked 45th and will not get an opportunity to move into the top 25. He will have full Tour status for 2017 but no PGA Tour status.

Here is a link to the standings of the Tour Finals excluding those who have already earned their cards through the regular season.

An evacuation of Atlantic Beach was issued late Wednesday morning by the city of Jacksonville.

“It is unfortunate that we’ve had to cancel our season-ending event; however, our first priority is the safety of our players, fans, volunteers and staff,” said Tour President Bill Calfee. “With Hurricane Matthew on the horizon, it is critical that we make sure everyone involved with the Tour Championship has ample time to evacuate the Northeast Florida area and return home.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency on Monday and announced the activation of 200 Florida National Guardsmen on Tuesday. On Wednesday, an additional 300 more Guardsmen were activated, with another 6,000 members placed on standby as a precaution in advance of the evacuation.

Preparations for the hurricane were underway at host Atlantic Beach Country Club on Wednesday, with Golf Channel removing towers and staff from the property, and all hospitality tents on the course broken down in advance of the anticipated strong wind gusts.

The Tour annually awards 50 PGA TOUR cards, with 25 coming at the conclusion of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz in August, and an additional 25 set for the completion of the Tour Finals.

The event cancellation marks the first for the Tour since the 2005 Miccosukee Championship, which was canceled due to Hurricane Wilma.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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